Thought for the day

"The first panacea of a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permeant ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." -- Ernest Hemingway

The White House said Tuesday that Turkey has the “right to defend themselves” from Kurdish militant groups in northern Syria and Iraq following massive Turkish airstrikes in the region.

“Turkey does continue to suffer a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south. They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

Turkey’s interior minister on Monday said that three people were killed after rockets hit the Turkish district of Karkamis, near the Syrian border, in an attack likely carried out by Kurdish militants.

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Turkey carried out dozens of airstrikes in northern Syria and Iraq on Sunday against Kurdish groups it blamed for a recent deadly bombing in Istanbul.

Ankara blamed the Kurdish militant group PKK for the Istanbul bombing, which killed six people and wounded at least 81. For their part, the PKK and its affiliates have denied any role in the attack.

The airstrikes that hit a convoy of tanker trucks carrying Iranian fuel from the Iraqi Qaim border crossing into Syria last week were conducted by Israeli drones, Iraqi officials told 

A UN special rapporteur on Thursday called for the removal of US and other Western sanctions on Syria as they are having a devastating impact on the civilian population and preventing the country from rebuilding after 11 years of war.

Poor access to safe water has exacerbated a cholera outbreak rampaging across Syria's war-battered provinces, where local authorities are struggling to contain the spread with chlorine tablets and vaccines.

More than 35,000 suspected cases of cholera have been reported across the country, according to the United Nations’ children's agency. UNICEF said only approximately 2,500 have been tested, of which nearly half were confirmed positive.

Truck convoys heading into Syria from Iraq are not uncommon: Iran sends fuel convoys to Lebanon and Syria a couple of times per month. On Tuesday night, one such convoy was hammered by Israeli airstrikes.

A number of US troops and logistics forces have been arriving in the Syrian city of Raqqa recently, and are in the process of establishing a new military base in the area, in Hasakeh Province.

The location makes some sense, though no official announcement has been made yet. The US has an estimated 1,000 troops left in Syria, and 28 declared military sites. They are mostly in Hasakeh, so it makes sense that the new base would be there too.

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